We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Brooks and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The concept of “The Caribbean Kickback” came about shortly after myself (Ashley- founder), Donovan (founder) and a group of our friends attended a Jouvert during Dallas Carnival weekend. Dallas Carnival is a yearly celebration that spans an entire weekend in September. It includes parties such as Jouvert (a paint, powder and water fete) and a carnival parade of bands. Given that we had both experienced how massive and culturally captivating a Jouvert celebration could be, we wanted to share this experience with others in Dallas, especially with those who have never been to one before. We decided to bring together a fairly large group of interested persons and convinced them to attend, almost 50 people. We coordinated bringing food, drinks, chairs and tables and had a nice set up on the grounds. Our friends had a blast. They enjoyed the music and the energy of the crowd and we all enjoyed connecting with other Caribbean people that enjoyed the same. After that experience, we felt an urge to keep it going. To chase and find other events with similar vibes and energy that we can share with others. Unfortunately, in Dallas, not much of those events exist and for multiple different reasons, the ones that do exist, do not draw the crowds and energy of Jouvert. However, we figured if it didn’t exist we can create it. Therefore, we felt very encouraged to create our own Caribbean music-themed experiences that would allow people to enjoy the culture all year round. After reaching out to like-minded friends of ours, who also host events and parties, their advice to us was to start small and build a brand and a following. This led us to start with small “kickback” events. Dallas may be the kickback capital of the U.S. so it is very common here and at our beginning stages, it just made sense. Hence the “The Caribbean Kickback” was born. Our first Kickback went extremely well, we offered free jerk wings and Caribbean rum punch. We had roughly 40 people in attendance. After receiving positive feedback, a month or two later we went ahead and did another Kickback, the ugly Christmas sweater edition. This too was a great success and word was spreading quickly about a young group of Caribbean individuals gathering and having a good time. Not long after an opportunity presented itself for us to throw an official party at OT Tavern during Christmas weekend. On December 27th we held our first annual Christmas ClimaXXX party at OT Tavern, we had over 500 RSVPs and there was a line outside until 1 am. The party exceeded our expectation and the support was overwhelming. However, Our biggest event to date has been our caribbean Day party called “FEVER”, we received over 2000 RSVPS, the support and vibe was unmatched. Many still reference as the best day party they have ever experienced in Dallas. Our goal is to connect all Afro-Caribbean people across DFW who enjoy SOCA, DANCEHALL, AFROBEATS, REGGAE and other music in intimate and public settings. We aim to unite all people of the African diaspora who enjoy the different manifestations of our music and culture.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
We are a Caribbean rooted curation brand. Our aim is to share the Caribbean culture everywhere we go through hosting events. We are not doing this looking for financial profit but rather out of our love for our culture. A major lesson we have learned in our short time is to be true to yourself, don’t compromise your dream to fit someone else’s view of your dream. We want the world to know how vibrant and rich the Caribbean culture is, we feel everyone should have an opportunity to experience it.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Dallas is an amazing city, there are so many places to go. For sightseeing, the downtown Museum and aquarium, taking a photo with the Eye and of course the skyline at night. For food, the options are literally endless, but some staples in the city are Rudy’s chicken, true kitchen, elaine’s kitchen and almost any taco spot is good. For nightlife, you have Deep Ellum and Bishop Arts which are two areas with multiple bars and restaurant’s. For fun and entertainment, Top golf is always a good time, bowling, skating or hiking as well. Dallas is just an amazing blend of everything in my opinion.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We’d like to shout out our Caribbean Famalay group, they keep us motivated and inspired to continue doing events and creating this platform for our people here in Dallas.

Website: https://linktr.ee/Thecaribbeankickback

Instagram: @thecaribbeankickback @_getmoneySZN_ @donurry

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecaribbeankickback

Image Credits

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